Remember when Gloria was telling Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump that sometimes when you win you actually lose. That played itself out last night at the Q. While theCavs notched yet another big victory on the big stage against the defending champs they paid a big price as its being reported that Delonte West has broken a finger on his shooting hand. It will be interesting to see how the Cavs move forward down option 1 and 2 at the pivotal PG position. Maybe Damon Jones can dust off his Italian for Dummies handbook? But today's not a day to diminish what transpired last night on the court. Again the Cavs proved that they are a much tougher team than Kobe's Lakers. So much so that it seems from Kobe's comments that the Cavs have triggered somewhat of a 7 game pilgrimmage for the Lakers to find their inner strength.
Another note from the game, and a trend we should be very fond of, is the play of Shaq Daddy in big games against the league's elite. Gotta give it again to Coach B. With LB on the bench in the 2nd quarter and in the 4th he ran the offense through Shaq. Even if Shaq wasn't producing on the block at the very least he's slowing the tempo of the game way down to limit the amount of actual possessions that LB's missing out on. Making it hard for opponents to go on runs with the MVP getting a breather as we've seen in the past. But Shaq is producing. He's been a presence on defense. (I haven't screamed "Damn Pick n Roll!" in weeks.) He's getting opposing big men in foul trouble constantly. This was the main reason Bynum only got 5 shots and was very insignificant in this ballgame. My best example of Shaq's effectiveness goes back to 5:30 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Down 37-28, crowd very anxious and sitting on their hands, and the Chosen One on the pine. Shaq made his mark. He backs down and finds a cutting Jawad Williams for an easy layup. 37-30. He D's up Bynum and Bynum settles for a J that he bricks. Next time down he draws Bynum's 3rd foul. Bynum out. He then backs down Gasol and hits a runner. 37-32. Crowd back in it. A few possessions later still 37-32 he steals a dump off pass from Fisher, makes a great outlet pass to LBJ..ahead to JJ for a two handed slam. 37-34. Crowd Roaring. Cavs back in the game. This run was a huge reason the Cavs were still in striking distance come halftime and a huge reason the home court advantage was still on as nothing fuels a road team quite like silence. This is what we've grown accustomed to seeing from Shaq. Short bursts of great production. Obviously he doesn't play the minutes to put up big numbers but he plays at a high enough level to make big impacts in the game.
Over the next few weeks we'll truly see what the depth on this roster can provide. Going into Saturday's game vs a young and hungry OKC Thunder we'll be down 3 rotation players with out a legitimate NBA PG on the roster. Jawad has stepped up in Moon's absence and will need to continue to do so and Boobie will have to follow suit. But in the end we have the best player in the world on our side and we will be playing a steady diet of home games. No matter what happens in the coming month as this battered and bruised team moves forward, wins like this one will make an off night against a lesser team a lot easier to stomach.